Joe Leaves a Piece of Himself Behind in Madre Linda in 'You' Season 3 (SPOILERS)

Why did Joe Goldberg cut off his toes in 'You'? The third season of the Netflix drama concluded with the serial killer leaving his toes at his California home.

Shannon Raphael - Author

Oct. 21 2021, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

Source: Netflix

Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 3 of You.

Though Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) has been killing people since before You even began, the third season of the Netflix series features content that is unsettling on a completely different level.

The latest season of the drama follows Joe and his wife, Love Quinn-Goldberg (Victoria Pedretti), as they settle into domestic life with their son, Henry, in Madre Linda, Calif.

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Unsurprisingly, Joe becomes fixated on several women in the area, which ignites his bride's jealousy. As the season progresses, the murderous duo commits killing after killing in the name of love and anger.

While viewers have become immune to the brutal nature of the slayings because they happen in nearly every episode, one plot point in the finale episode greatly disturbed many.

Why did Joe cut off his toes in You? Before he jetted off to Paris, the rare books expert literally left behind a piece of himself in his home.

Source: Netflix
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Why did Joe cut off his toes in 'You' Season 3? He wanted to fake his own death.

As the third season of You came to a close, Joe had a lot of loose ends to tie up before he could attempt to be with Marienne Bellamy (Tati Gabrielle). In the tenth and final episode, "What is Love?," Joe learns that Love has, once again, been impulsive and that she injured Theo (Dylan Arnold).

As Joe heads over to the cage in the basement of Love's bakery, A Fresh Tart, he discovers that Theo is still alive. The library employee is done with the unnecessary killings, and he helps Theo get to a hospital.

Later on, Love connects the dots about the death of Ryan Goodwin (Scott Michael Foster), who Joe killed in the prior episode. She recognizes that he has a crush on Ryan's ex, Marienne, and she slips a paralytic drug to Joe.

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Joe has caught on to his wife, and he has already taken adrenaline to combat the effects of the drug. In order for him to be able to leave Madre Linda alive and without suspicion, he needs to blame the murders of Natalie, Gil, and Ryan on Love.

After he injects Love with a lethal dose of Wolfsbane (the kind she was trying to use on him), Joe stages the scene in his house. He makes it look like Love completed suicide. He uses a knife to cut off two of his toes and he then takes off his wedding ring before turning on all of the burners on his stove.

Joe in 'You'
Source: Netflix
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He places one toe in a pie (á la Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd), and the other goes in Love's souvenir kill box.

He then lights his wedding album on fire, before placing it in the oven as well. The house is eventually engulfed in flames.

Joe writes an email from Love's account, which makes it seem like she is confessing to killing Ryan, Natalie, and Gil. She apologizes for killing her husband, too. Joe cuts off two of his toes so it will appear like he has perished as well.

By leaving behind some of his DNA, Joe is hoping that the authorities will believe that Love murdered him like she did all the others in Madre Linda. He doesn't want anyone to search for him while he secretly heads to Paris in the hopes of finding Marienne.

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"In the end, it worked. There was just enough half-charred evidence to tell the tale, including the remains of two human toes, which were DNA tested. RIP, me. Love's farewell filled out details a burned-out crime scene couldn't," Joe says in the closing minutes of the finale. "The rest of Joe Goldberg's body was never found, but it was presumed butchered — or worse. Love Quinn became the Mrs. Lovett of Madre Linda. Once the nausea passed, people were ravenous for her."

Source: Netflix
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Does Joe get caught in 'You' Season 3?

Though Joe continues to kill and to toe the line (pun intended) of getting caught, he is not apprehended by the authorities in Season 3. However, Joe and Love were definitely messier in the third season, and several of their intended targets survived.

Theo, Sherry (Shalita Grant), and Cary (Travis Van Winkle) managed to escape, while Joe's former L.A. neighbor, Ellie Alves (Jenna Ortega) , is also alive.

Joe is living in Paris under a new name by the time Season 3 concludes, but there's every chance that he will be caught at some point in the future.

The first three seasons of You are available to stream on Netflix now. Netflix has already renewed the serial killer drama for a fourth season.

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